PENSACOLA, Fla. (WFLA) – A popular fast food joint in the Florida Panhandle got a surprise inspection after a woman’s social media post went viral for showing that she got a little more than the food she ordered.
The fast food chain “Slim Chickens,” located on Nine Mile Road in Pensacola is less than two years old and hadn’t received a complaint or health code violation since it opened in 2021, according to WEAR News.
However, that all changed a few weeks ago when a customer found an unpleasant surprise in her food.
“At first I thought it was a burnt spot,” customer Haile Kirkland told the outlet. “And then when I picked it up I said, ‘That’s a whole bug.'”
Kirkland said she and her husband only took a few bites before they noticed the insect.
“I probably ate one or two of my tenders and then my husband sat his food down and he was like, ‘Here check my food,’ and it was in his food,” Kirkland said. “And I was like ‘Oh great.'”
As if finding a cockroach in your food wasn’t shocking enough, Kirkland reportedly received videos from an employee that showed several roaches across different kitchen areas.
While Kirkland’s Facebook post has been shared over 1,00 times, WEAR reported that state authorities weren’t aware of the issue until the station reached out for answers.
According to the outlet, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspected the restaurant and observed nearly 20 dead roaches in the store on Tuesday. WEAR stated that the DBPR called for a follow-up inspection on Wednesday and found no violations.
The owner of the Slim Chickens location emailed WEAR on Thursday issuing a statement saying they “immediately contacted pest control,” and have treated the building daily since the incident.
“My team was immediately made aware of the complaint, and we responded swiftly to ensure all health & safety precautions were evaluated. I met with our local pest elimination company the following morning at the restaurant to thoroughly inspect the premises and provide further pest elimination treatment. Although we believe all pest activity has been resolved they will continue to come out weekly to monitor and provide additional treatments as needed,” the owner said.
“Our local Health Inspector arrived on Tuesday for an inspection and found dead insects from the treatments. He returned the following day, and we were approved with no issues or violations. We will continue to work with our local Health Inspector and provide full access to ensure the quality of our food and guest experience.”
The owner also told the outlet that his primary goal was to ensure Kirkland was alright.
In Kirkland’s Facebook post, she said the store manager told her “oops, sorry” and asked if she wanted a “refund or something.”
However, in an interview with WEAR, Kirkland said the Slim Chickens Pensacola owner reached out to her and gave her a sincere apology, along with a full refund, and $100 gift cards, including a $50 to the chicken joint.
When asked if Kirkland would ever go back to Slim Chickens, she told WEAR she’d eventually return once it’s proven to be clean.
“It’s gonna take some time. I would have to know they clean it and get with management and get with Ecolab, and it’s clean there. I’m not going to lie they have some of the best chicken in town, I just need it to be clean,” Kirkland said.
Slim Chickens corporate sent WFLA.com the following statement on Monday, noting that they’re aware of the incident and have launched an investigation:
Slim Chickens corporation is aware of the complaint at locally owned Pensacola store and we have begun an investigation into the issue.
Our local franchisee responded swiftly to the social post to ensure all health & safety precautions were evaluated and implemented at the Pensacola location. The franchisee met with the local pest elimination company the following morning at the restaurant to thoroughly inspect the premises and provide further pest elimination treatment.
All pest activity has been resolved and the pest control company will continue to come out weekly to monitor and provide additional treatments as needed.
The local Health Inspector arrived on Wednesday 2/22 and approved the location with no issues or violations. The franchisee is continuing to work with the local Health Inspector and provide full access to ensure the quality of our food and guest experience.